Pakistani passengers stuck at Bangkok airport as India closes airspace
KARACHI: A large number of Pakistani passengers remained stranded at Bangkok airport on Friday as India restrained flights travelling to Pakistan from using its airspace.
According to a video clip uploaded on a social media platform by one of the stranded travelers, about 3,000 Pakistanis are still stranded in the Thai capital as India closed its airspace for flights traveling to Pakistan.
The passenger states that he was returning to Lahore from China but has been stranded at the Bangkok airport for the past 48 hours.
“3,000 people are stuck at the airport. Some of them hail from Lahore and others from Quetta and Karachi.”
Reuters adds: About 2,000 travelers were still stranded in the Thai capital Bangkok on Friday and it will take a few more days to get them home after flights were disrupted by the latest conflict between Pakistan and India, airline officials said.
Thai Airways International canceled more than a dozen flights to European cities — including London, Paris, Milan, Zurich and Frankfurt — after Pakistan closed its airspace on Wednesday amid rising tensions with India.
“There are still about 2,000 passengers,” Thai Airways President Sumeth Damrongchaitham told reporters at a briefing to announce the company’s financial results.
The backlog would be cleared over the next two or three days, he said.
Nearly 5,000 passengers – most of them flying on Thai Airways and Taiwan’s EVA Airways – scrambled to find alternative flights from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport after Pakistan closed its airspace on Wednesday.
Pakistan said its airspace would re-open to commercial flights at 4 p.m. local time (1100 GMT) on Friday.
Thailand is among the world’s most popular tourist destinations, drawing more than 38 million visitors last year, about 6.8 million of them from Europe.
Rival carriers like Singapore Airlines re-routed their European flights to avoid the affected airspace, but Thai Airways did not have routes over Iranian or Turkish airspace, Sumeth said.
Thailand’s national carrier eventually gained permission from China to use its airspace and resumed flights to Europe on Thursday evening.